In May, self spent two weeks in an East London Airbnb. It had a wonderful location: just across the street from Haggerston Park. She had never been to this part of London before, so she spent much time exploring. The park was glorious, semi-wild in places, with a working farm at one end, the end near Hackney Road.
Self was first made aware of this garden while reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua come from parallel universes. Once a year, they “visit” each other by going to a bench in the Oxford Botanic Garden.
This year, after a three-year hiatus on traveling, self was finally able to return to the UK. The Oxford Botanic Garden was a required stop. These pictures were taken in the last week of May (thanks so much, Becky, for reviving the Squares challenge)
In May, self returned to England for the first time in three years. She decided to stay in an Airbnb in East London, a part of the city she’d never been to.
Her unit was directly across the street from Hackney City Farm (it’s on Hackney Road, which is a very fascinating road, a cross-section of London’s population, and hardly any tourists, ha!). She was so tickled to find an exact replica of a California organic farm. In East London! They sold all the same things she could get in a California organic market: raw yogurt, grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. Next to the farm was a small garden. So pretty! Self loved exploring the narrow pathways.
It was fun looking through the archives for photos taken at ground level.
Finally settled on two pictures she took last May while visiting the Oxford University Botanic Garden. The greenhouse housed all sort of exotic plants, such as these speckled beauties. Self didn’t know what they were, so she looked for the plant tag. It turned out to be underneath the hanging basket:
Seeing double is all about reflections—probably one of my biggest photographic obsessions. I tend to see them everywhere & actively seek them out when they’re not readily apparent. My reflection hunting started shortly after I got Snappy, my DSLR, 12 years ago with some poolside reflections.
This was such a fun challenge. Thank you for dreaming it up, Jez!
Lily pond, Oxford University Botanical Garden:
Ruth Asawa, permanent collection, De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco:
Alexander Calder mobile, from Calder/Picasso Exhibit, 2021, de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park:
Self has lately been thinking of adding a water feature to her garden (though, she is worried about Lucia falling in, so maybe not until she learns to swim). Here are examples from various gardens she has visited in the past month:
The Glasshouses, Oxford University Botanic Garden
Central Fountain, Oxford University Botanic Garden
Central Courtyard, Christchurch, Oxford University
Self just returned from a loooong trip overseas: Northern Ireland, London, and Oxford. It was her first overseas trip in three years.
In 2020, The Penn Club closed its doors forever, ending 100 years in its Bloomsbury location. Self mourned! This building was her home-away-from-home whenever she was in London. A haven. Just off Russell Square.
As soon as she got to London, in early May, she rushed to Bedford Place. She found that the building remained unchanged: the red door even seemed freshly painted. She walked right up to the door and peered through the glass: she saw the narrow lobby, the stairs leading to the upper floors.
She took a picture of the main entrance: who knows if it will still be there, the next time she’s in London:
Possible topics frame within a photo, window, square, silhouette, restaurant, bushes, trees, table chair, green, red, brown, parked, vehicles, looking through, etc. What else can you come up with?
Have fun this week.
Topics self picked up on: trees, green, red
She took this picture at the end of May. She was on a walk with Old Map Man. We met at Trafalgar Square and walked to the foot of the Jubilee Bridge on the Victoria Embankment.
Self loves these embankments. Her love of London grew with her awareness of them: Southbank because of the Millenium Bridge, anchored at one end by the Tate Modern and at the other by a narrow funnel to St. Paul’s.
Recently, she’s become more aware of the Victoria Embankment: more staid than Southbank, but so historic! Samuel Pepys’s house is on the Victoria Embankment.
Self wondered aloud how old these embankments were. Old Map Man said, mid-19th century. Wow! All this time, she thought they were constructions of modern London.
Later, it began to POUR, so the walk had to end rather abruptly.
Self took these pictures at the Oxford Botanic Garden, which she visited in May. What she loves about the location is that, all around and across the street, are very old buildings. The roses are grouped by color: here pink, there orange; here yellow, there white.